NYPD Clears Nest of 'Extremely Aggressive' Hornets in Bushwick

By Alan Neuhauser on August 10, 2012 9:01am 

BUSHWICK — Bushwick was abuzz Thursday night after the NYPD's "Tony Bees" disposed of more than 150 angry hornets that had built a near-basketball-size hive.

The swarm expert, whose real name is Anthony Planakis, was called to the scene at Knickerbocker Avenue and Eldert Street shortly before 9 p.m., after two police officers and a child were stung by the carnivorous, inch-long insects.

"These were white-faced or bald-faced hornets," said Planakis, 50, who is a detective and a beekeeper.

"They're extremely aggressive and very protective, especially this time of year because the day's getting shorter and food's getting scarce."

None of the three people stung sustained serious injuries in the incident.

The hive hung from a tree near Mt. Olive Church of God, which was hosting an evening service, Planakis said. The lights at the church agitated the hornets, which are usually dormant at night.

"They think it's daylight, it throws their clock off," he said. "That's what makes them dangerous, because they're active."

Planakis donned a beekeeping hat and heavy cotton suit that covered him head-to-toe. He turned on a red light to disorient the hornets, then started dowsing them with a chemical spray.

"Something like this, timing is of an essence," he said. "You have to hit them fast and hit them hard. You don't let them know you're there."

Planakis then slipped a plastic garbage bag over the hive, sealed the opening, and tossed it in the trash. The whole operation took about an hour.

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